This Week in Patronus Fuel: (Small) Victories in Net Neutrality

In which small victories feel like magic.

In a vote 52-47, the Senate voted to maintain Net Neutrality, which would mean a free and open internet for all. It’s only a small victory because it still has to go to the House of Representatives, but for now, our internet isn’t chopped up and sold to us on platters. 

The small measure really reminded me of how important the internet has been in my life and is thus, this week’s Patronus Fuel inspiration. As a millennial, I grew up with the Internet. And I really do mean that, the Internet grew up with us millennials. Is not the skkrr-beep-blarrggle of the sound of old school dial-up what puberty feels like? It came into maturity around the same time as many of us — maturing year by year into a more useful and ubiquitous being (much like millennial to the annoyance of baby boomers — and some of us still remember how dull, but maybe just different life was without it — but only just barely. For Gen Z, losing access to the internet would be devastating, but adaptable. But for millennials it would be regression.

But let’s focus on what we have while we still yet have it, and while we have the opportunity to fight for it. 

The Internet has helped me find stories (to read and to write — like right now! How meta!), find friends, got me through college, and shaped my adult life in ways many of you reading this will understand. I’ve gotten jobs, made friends, created art, etc because of the internet. All things that have enhanced my life. I’ve found family and existed in communities and learned more about everything because of the internet. The Internet has kept me hopeful when I couldn’t find a job or didn’t know how to do something — someone somewhere knew and then I knew that thing too. And if Net Neutrality didn’t exist, I would be a completely different person. 100%.

Whenever I feel lonely IRL, I get on Twitter or go to my favorite sites or hit up my favorite people — people who live miles and miles and miles apart from me and from each other — and my hope in humanity is restored. The internet, of course, also shows how terrible humanity is, but for me it’s been a place where I can curate my best experiences of life, something you can’t do in the real world.

So this week, I cast a hearty expecto patronum because I can, for free. Well, not including the cost of my internet service provider, but right now, they don’t get to charge me not one cent more.